The stench of FAIL
is upon Microsoft.
Firstly, they are giving apple and android a whopping two years (well, three actually) head start to gain widespread market acceptance. The only thing that Windows has going for it is the so-called "comfort factor", which is something Steve Ballmer is constantly banging on about to anybody who will listen. Essentially, the idea is that it is the ubiquitousness of Windows that keeps people on the treadmill. Simply put, Joe Public has been, until only recently, utterly unaware that there are in fact alternatives to Microsoft products and when introduced to one is to afraid/lazy to engage it.
"I think I'll just stick with the "Blue E" thanks, I'm used to that."
But now tablets are all the rage and people don't have the option of using the Start Menu and the Blue E. If they want to get their own piece of the shiny-shiny they have no choice but to go cold turkey on their Microsoft habit.
In another two years people will well and truly come to realise that there is no need to slavishly stick with MS and do battle on a daily basis with their unnecessarily overblown and clunky OS.
By the time MS does manage to get their tablets out Joe Public will have been edumacated by the market into understanding that Computer != Microsoft like they once thought and their MS addiction will be long gone.
And this is the time that MS intend to foist a Windows tablet on the market.
As has said by other commentards, MS has to make a choice. Stick with the "comforting" look and feel of Windows to try and keep hold of the people who remain being too afraid to try anything different or design a completely new OS and user interface to make the tablet user experience as smooth as possible.
They can't do both, although I can't help thinking they will try.
Then there are the hardware difficulties with supporting Windows. Spinning disks, poor battery management, an inability to do instant on, a seemingly ever present need for cooling fans, these things do not fit well into what people expect from a tablet device.
Simply porting Windows + Office to ARM won't do the trick. Even if ARM magically fixes all of the massive hardware requirements demanded by Windows, can you imagine a clueless punter with a device that looks like it is running vanilla Windows downloading some random crap EXE off the intertoobs and completely not understanding the difference between x86 and ARM binaries?
Once that starts happening en masse the whole "Windows is much easier for n00bs and has millions and millions of programs" argument goes right out the window. The same applies to drivers. Apart from vanilla thumbdrives, most of the billions of USB devices that are out there will be totally unusable on ARM based Windows, unless MS does a spectacular job of convincing hardware manufacturers to port their drivers over, which I think is unlikely.
I just can't see things working out well for Wintel in the tablet space.
MS should relocate their HQ to Fail Town now so as to not prolong the agony.